The Diffusion of tDCS

Martin Dyreborg Hansen & Thomas Heilmann Rasmussen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Recent advancements in neuroscience and the development of stimulation-technologies pave the way for consumer products in cognitive enhancement. Cognitive enhancement is part of the global trend of individuals striving to improve themselves in order to enhance their performance. An example of such cognitive enhancement is transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) which is increasingly becoming available as a consumer product. This thesis aims to increase the understanding of how the diffusion of tDCS is characterized by the technology’s distinctive nature. Although several studies have tested the supposed effect of tDCS and much has been debated about the ethics of cognitive enhancement, no studies have investigated the consumer behavior related to tDCS or cognitive enhancement. Thereby, the nature of this thesis is inherently exploratory. The analysis is based on qualitative data from seven expert interviews and two focus groups, as well as, quantitative data from two online structured interviews with users and potential adopters of tDCS. The approach to theory development of this thesis is primarily deductive as the existing diffusionliterature is tested. Important findings of the study are that: (1) the knowledge and persuasion stages of tDCS are complex due to the novelty of cognitive enhancement as a consumer product; (2) interpersonal communication is needed in persuasion stage, however; (3) tDCS-users’ interpersonal communication is limited due to the lack of social acceptance of cognitive enhancement; and (4) mass-media communication will play a central role in creating awareness, persuading potential adopters and increase the social acceptance of tDCS.

EducationsCand.merc.smc Strategic Market Creation, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages136